May 23: It’s the economy, stupid

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Hello, Thursday. About there.

Weather in Pennsylvania
🌤 Cranberry Twp. | Partly radiant, 79
☔ Shippensburg | Showers, 81
🌩 Levittown | Storms, 84

Sports PA
⚾ Phillies (36-14) | Texas 11-4 | Thu vs. Texas
⚾ Pirates (23-27) | San Francisco 5-9 | Thu vs. San Francisco

👂 What we hear. “Let me tell you, even if you don’t like football, even if you don’t follow sports, this is a huge event for Pittsburgh and it will fill every hotel room. The bars will be full. Restaurants will be full. Detroit had a population of 700,000. We will do it even better than Detroit. It will be amazing.” – Governor Josh Shapiro

🎂 Happy birthday. Cake and candles for Representative Aerion Abney.

🎸 Everyday Bruce. “And these South Side sisters sure look pretty. The cripple on the corner shouts, “Nickels, have mercy.” And these inner city boys sure talk rough. It’s hard to be a saint in the city

🗞 Pennsylvania. The ultimate swing state. Where can you find the latest information on political events in the Keystone State? Sign up for the PoliticsPA Guide. We’ll deliver all the latest headlines in an easy-to-read format every weekday at 8am. And it’s free. Add your name to the list and sign up now.

The best story

1. Unique choices driven by a traditional issue

Dollar banknotes

“There are many unique and untested variables in the upcoming presidential election. This is the first race in over 100 years between a sitting and former sitting president (both would be the oldest ever inaugurated). This is the first publication in which a major party candidate is impeached. And the first presidential contest since the Supreme Court’s decision was overturned Roe v. Wade.

But at this point, the defining issue of this contest is a more traditional one: the economy. “Right now, this election is about President Biden’s economic performance and America’s economic future,” said the president of GS Strategies Greg Stremple. “When it comes to who voters trust to move the economy forward, Trump is in the driver’s seat.”

That’s one of the biggest takeaways from the Swing State Project, a collaboration between Cook Political Report, GS Strategy Group, a Democratic polling firm, and BSG, a Republican polling firm. The project surveyed 3,969 voters in seven battleground states between May 6 and May 13, 2024.” (Cook Political Report)


Most Americans believe the U.S. is in a recession and unemployment is at a 50-year high. They are wrong. “We have often emphasized that polls are just a snapshot in time. But what happens when the shutter is blurry and out of focus?” (PoliticsPA)

The PA auditor general was allegedly the highest-ranking official associated with Andrew Yang’s Strike Party. Then he withdrew. “Republican Auditor General Tim DeFoor, who is seeking a second term in the November election, had intended to announce his affiliation – but not a formal change of party – with the Forward Party on Wednesday at an event in Harrisburg, but changed his mind earlier this week. ”(Questioner from Philadelphia)


2. Congressional vulnerability assessments

“For the eighth time since 2010, PoliticsPA has published Congressional Vulnerability Rankings for the Pennsylvania delegation. This is our second handicap of 2024 Pennsylvania congressional races and first in about 10 months.

For the second year in a row, our top “Highly Susceptible” category excludes any breeds. But the second-highest category, “Vulnerable,” has four — in order Democrats Reps Matt Cartwright, Zuzanna Dzika AND Chris Deluzio and republican Rep. Scott Perry” (PolitykaPA)


Analysts say political overhaul in AP: Despite recent Democratic victories, GOP is gaining momentum. “Leading political analysts in Pennsylvania say the state is in the midst of major demographic and electoral changes that will likely benefit the GOP. According to the latest data from the Republican Commonwealth, Republicans have gained over 10,000 new registrants over the past two months.” (Fox News)

The House of Representatives passed a bill granting tax breaks to employers who help employees provide child care. “Child care may soon become more affordable for some working families in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives, by a 155-47 vote, passed legislation that would provide tax breaks to employers who cover their employees’ child care expenses.” (Penn Capital Star)

For some, the turning of the tide on legalized marijuana is too quick. “While some politicians treat recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania as inevitable, others remain skeptical. They warn that the social costs of drug use will not go away and that a legalized industry creates its own problems.” (Central Square)

State lawmakers propose Sunday hunting bill and express concern about game commission. “On Wednesday, on a party-line vote, a Pennsylvania House committee passed a three-bill package that includes a proposal that, if passed, would eliminate restrictions on Sunday hunting.” (CNHI News)

Around the Republic of Poland

3. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected to host the 2026 NFL Draft

Acrisure Stadium - Populated

“Pittsburgh has had its share of hosting events that drew large crowds and hosting notable events that attracted worldwide attention.

The city rolled out the welcome mat for Major League Baseball’s All-Star games, the U.S. Open golf tournament, the Olympic marathon trials and the G20 summit. Hell, it was even staged back-to-back Taylor Swift concerts.

But Pittsburgh has never hosted a three-day event that is expected to draw huge crowds and generate more than $120 million for the city’s economy as it did in April 2026.” (Pittsburgh Postal Newspaper)


Luzerne County judges issue opinions confirming decisions in the Cabell/Walsh race. “During Wednesday’s document review, Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas judges outlined their justification for denying election ballot tally requests filed by both state representative candidates in the 117th House of the House District.” (Leader of the Times)

PA elections directors like new mail-in voting materials, even if some voters filled them out incorrectly. “In some areas of Pennsylvania, most April absentee ballots for the primary election were rejected because voters did not write the last two digits of the year on the newly designed ballot materials, but that did not stop officials from presenting the new design favorably.” (Pittsburgh Postal Newspaper)

AP Republicans push for mail-in voting in 2024, but Trump-fueled skepticism remains within the party. “Mail-in voting has given Democrats a huge advantage in every AP election since its inception, thanks in part to lies promoted by former President Donald Trump.” (Public source)

A delay in Center County’s core certification puts the class on hold until November. “Center County is the last county in the state to certify results due to an election challenge. “This trial could be a lesson in how well the Commonwealth will handle similar demands this fall, as elected officials wait to take office and a new federal law requires certification.” (WITF)


4. What do you mean

  • 70 years after Brown v. Board of Education, fair school funding is the only way to counter continued segregation. (Questioner from Philadelphia)
  • Saving President Biden’s infrastructure program from itself. (Lindsay Lewis)
  • Hey John Fetterman: Stand up for your fellow Democrats. (Jenice Armstrong)
  • Supreme courts should be exceptions to political calamities, not part of them. (John Baer)
  • How Pennsylvania can mend the rural-urban divide in Alzheimer’s care. (Matthew Espenshade)
  • PA Democrats must prioritize environmental protection in budget negotiations. (Rep. Greg Vitali)
  • It’s not a crime if MAGA does it. (Francis Wilkinson)
  • Fly, girls, fly: Let’s make girls soccer a thing in Pennsylvania. (Troy Vincent Sr)
1 item

5. Voters are afraid of violence

A bar chart showing the percentage of Americans who say they do not trust the 2024 election to be free from violence.  While Republicans and Democrats are tied at 48 and 47 percent, respectively, Independents lead them with 55 percent.

“New swing-state polls reveal a rare – and alarming – consensus:

Roughly equal shares of Republicans, Democrats and independents believe violence could plague the 2024 election. – according to a Bloomberg/Morning Consult survey Today.

Why is it important?: Former President Trump and his allies have already signaled that they will not accept the election results if they consider them “unfair,” restoring the rhetoric that helped spark the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

🔬 Rapprochement: Temperatures are already unusually high six months before the November rematch.”

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